Palestinian Heritage Foundation
Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
Arab American National Museum to Host the Munayyer Collection
The Arab-American National Museum, established three years ago in Dearborn, Michigan, will host the Munayyer Collection of Palestinian embroidered costumes beginning this July. This is the latest of PHF activities that works to educate both fellow Arab-Americans as well as the American public of the beauty of Palestinian embroidery, motifs and symbols stitched on these stunning garments. This collection is a true representation of now-vanished Palestinian villages and the women that wrote Palestinian history with needle and thread.
Threads of Pride: Palestinian Traditional Costumes will open on July 12th, and will remain open through November 25th, 2007. The exhibit will include selections from the pristine collections of Hanan and Farah Munayyer and the Palestinian Heritage Foundation.
Dresses on display will represent Bethlehem, villages around Jerusalem, Hebron region, Ramallah region, Jaffa region, Gaza, Galilee, and the Southern and Coastal regions. In addition to the dresses, other items such as veils, headpieces, jackets and jewelry will be on display.
This historic exhibition is the first of its kind in a Michigan museum and comes almost one year after the successful three month exhibit at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA.
Opening July 12:
Threads of Pride: Palestinian Traditional Costumes
Threads of Pride features over 40 Palestinian embroidered dresses and ceremonial costumes from the collection of Farah and Hanan Munayyer, founders of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation of West Caldwell, New Jersey and stewards of the largest collection of Palestinian embroidery in the United States. This exhibition, in the Museum’s Main Floor Gallery, runs through November 25, 2007.
Palestinian Heritage Foundation Celebrates 20th Anniversary
On Sunday, April 15th, 2007 the Palestinian Heritage Foundation held its Twentieth Anniversary Banquet. The most heartwarming feature of the banquet was the presence of many friends and supporters. In spite of the heavy rain, storm and flooding that affected the Eastern Coast, over 400 people attended, several traveling considerable distance to be there.
Some people may wonder, in these times when our brothers and sisters in Palestine are perpetually suffering, why we have a banquet to celebrate our antiquities, our music, textiles and traditions. We believe that it is precisely in these desperate times that it is most important to spread our culture, to practice our traditions, to play our music…because when we have lost our cultural heritage, we have truly lost what means the most.
On this special day, the Palestinian Heritage Foundation and the Arab-American community honored Dr. Simon Shaheen. Among those joining in the celebrations included guests His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in North America, Keynote Speaker Dr. Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi and her spouse Emile Ashrawi, Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, Ambassador Ryad Mansour, PLO Observer to the United Nations, Dr. Ziad Asali, President of the American Task Force on Palestine and many others.
The evening included a beautiful display of traditional dresses from Palestine in addition to artwork by Jihan Tannous, Renata Ghannam, Irina Karkabi and watercolors by Anna Rychter May. The evening was concluded with a special performance by Simon Shaheen and Qantara.
Keynote Speaker Hanan Ashrawi Address the Banquet
Dr. Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Legislative Assembly and President of the human rights organization Miftah, was keynote speaker at the Twentieth Anniversary Banquet of the Foundation.
Calling the banquet a “rare moment of celebration”, Dr. Ashrawi described the Munayyers’ efforts as an affirmation which captured the essence of Palestinian identity and represented a continuum of legitimacy and authenticity. Not only was it a form of constructive resistance, she added, but an act of loyalty and a pledge of commitment to the future.
The Munayyers’ initiative is heartening, Ashrawi explained, precisely because Palestinians have been wounded in their identity, having suffered exclusion, denial, dispossession, exile and oppressive military occupation.
Dr. Ashrawi was received with a standing ovation and applauded by more than 400 people who attended the evening (see article by Jane Adas in the WRMEA below).
Archbishop Hanna Presents Special Awards to Metropolitan PHILIP and the Munayyers
Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Jerusalem Orthodox Patriarchate was received at the banquet with a standing ovation by over 400 people in attendance. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba introduced Archbishop Hanna. The Archbishop’s word was warmly received by the audience and sparked enthusiastic applause throughout his speech.
Archbisop HANNA presented Metropolitan PHILIP and the Munayyers with awards highlighting their achievements. Sayyidna PHILIP’s award was in appreciation for the role he has been playing on behalf of the American Arab community, the Orthodox faithful in the United States, and above all, for his unlimited support to the Palestinian people during the first and second Intifadas. The Munayyer’s award was for their efforts during the past twenty years to preserve and promote Palestinian and Arab heritage to the American and Arab public.
Simon Shaheen Honored by PHF
Simon Shaheen, a true virtuoso in his field and one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers, and composers of his generation, was honored by the Palestinian Heritage Foundation at its Twentieth Anniversary Banquet for his tireless efforts to promote understanding and appreciation of Arab music. The evening was electrified when Qantara played Simon’s two most recent compositions, “Iraq” and “The Wall”.
Shaheen graduated from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem and completed his graduate studies in New York City’s Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University.
In the early 1980’s, Shaheen established the Near Eastern Music Ensemble. He has performed in the world’s greatest venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Cairo’s Opera House, Theatre de la Ville in Beirut, and Belgium’s Le Palais des Arts. In 2000, Shaheen appeared at the Grammy Awards with American pop musician Sting, arranging the violin section for Stings’ live rendition of “Desert Rose.”
Since 1994, Shaheen has produced the Annual Arab Festival of Arts, Mahrajan Al-Fan, at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Three years later, Shaheen founded the Annual Arabic Music Retreat held each summer at Mount Holyoke College, a weeklong intensive program of Arabic music studies that attracts participants across the U.S. and the world. Even now, he still devotes almost fifty percent of his professional time working with schools and universities, including Juilliard, Princeton, Brown, Harvard, Yale, and others.
For the past six years, Shaheen has focused much of his energy on his band Qantara, which offers its listeners a fusion of Arabic, jazz, Western Classical and Latin music.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Hanan Ashrawi Keynote Speaker at Palestinian Heritage Foundation Celebration
By Jane Adas
Twenty years ago Hanan and Farah Munayyer purchased a collection of antique Palestinian embroidered dresses. Thus was born the Palestinian Heritage Foundation (PHF). While pursuing demanding careers as scientists and raising their daughters, the couple researched the 4,000-year history of arts and crafts in the Middle East, the Arab textile industry, and the “language” of individual embroidery patterns. They took a second mortgage on their home to add to their collection, which now exceeds 1,500 items, and to produce a video: “Palestinian Costumes and Embroidery: A Precious Legacy.” They have since presented live costume shows; mounted exhibitions in such venues as the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles (2006), Museum of the City of New York, and the United Nations; given lectures across the country; and created a Web site, <www.palestineheritage.org>. The Munayyers’ dream is to establish a museum to house their collection in order to increase awareness of Arab culture and traditions.
The keynote speaker at PHFs 20th anniversary banquet was Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Legislative Assembly and president of the human rights organization Miftah. At the banquet, held in Teaneck, New Jersey on April 15, PHF also presented a special award to Dr. Simon Shaheen for his tireless efforts to promote understanding and appreciation of Arab music. Calling the banquet a rare moment of celebration, Ashrawi described the Munayyers’ efforts as an affirmation which captured the essence of Palestinian identity and represented a continuum of legitimacy and authenticity. Not only was it a form of constructive resistance, Ashrawi continued, but an act of loyalty and a pledge of commitment to the future.
The Munayyers’ initiative is heartening, Ashrawi explained, precisely because Palestinians have been wounded in their identity, having suffered exclusion, denial, dispossession, exile and oppressive military occupation. Ashrawi proceeded to briefly and eloquently review the recent Palestinian experience. Throughout the “peace process,” she noted, Palestinians were assaulted by more land confiscation and settlement expansion, military incursions and assassinations. Jerusalem is surrounded, isolated, spiritually and physically violated. The separation wall is stealing not only Palestinians’ land, but also their horizon. For the past seven years, during which the peace process has been suspended, Ashrawi continued, Israel has increasingly resorted to unilateralism and militarism while claiming it has no partner for peace. Throughout all this, Ashrawi said, the international community has kept its distance, the U.S. has been complicit, and the Arab world is on the defensive with an initiative that lies dormant.
Reacting to the lack of any prospects for peace, Ashrawi explained, the Palestinian people elected Hamas in the January 2006 legislative elections. Hamas got not only the ideological vote, she said, but also the protest vote, the angry vote, and the despair vote. This created internal polarization between Hamas and Fatah, weakened the traditional left and new initiatives such as her own party, The Third Way, and led to the crossing of red lines: the slippery slope of civil war, kidnappings, the emergence of militias and the breakdown of the rule of law.
Ashrawi called the subsequent international boycott of Palestinians the essence of hypocrisy: while Israel has been a military occupier for decades with full immunity, a people under occupation are subjected to sanctions because of democratic elections. The boycott has serious consequences, she warned, and not only for those who advocate democracy. It has deprived Hamas of the right to govern and therefore given it an excuse not to. There can be no economic transparency when a government has to resort to carrying money in suitcases, she added, and Palestine has become a charity case on the receiving end of emergency money. Ashrawi said she has never before seen the Palestinian people in such bad straits.
Ashrawi welcomed the Mecca initiative, which provided a mechanism for a national unity government and stopped most of the violence. It began the rehabilitation of Hamas, which entered the government without sufficient preparation, according to Ashrawi, but went beyond what is required and is now displaying political flexibility. This type of government, however, enhances factionalism by dividing the spoils rather than sharing power. It cannot lift the economic siege or stop sanctions on its own and may lead to a backlash, she warned. In Ashrawi’s opinion, the real question is whether Palestinian leaders are willing to make political concessions at the expense of an open, pluralistic society.
Despite Israel’s dysfunctional government which wants to design a peace that puts the right of return off the agenda and allows it to retain settlement blocs and Jerusalem; despite a weakened and divided U.S. administration, disaster in Iraq and the debacle in Lebanon; and despite attempts to create new divisions within the region, Ashrawi suggested that the revival of the 2002 Arab initiative can work because the situation requires multilateral involvement. The “political horizon,” she concluded, must be a genuine landscape for peace and not a receding line in the distance.
Jane Adas is a free-lance writer based in the New York City metropolitan area.
The Qutubs Donate Palestinian Dress to PHF
Annie and Joseph Qutub have donated an antique Palestinian dress to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. The Foundation would like to thank the Qutubs for their generosity and support to the Foundation.
Mrs. Steen Donates Palestinian Dress to Foundation
Mrs. Alexandra Steen of Albuquerque, New Mexico donated an antique Palestinian embroidered dress from the southern coastal plains region of Palestine. The dress was bought by Mrs. Steen’s mother-in-law while living in Amman, Jordan between 1966 and 1968. The Foundation would like to thank Mrs. Alexandra Steen for her generosity in donating the dress in memory of her mother-in-law Mrs. Mary O. Steen, a friend of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian Heritage Foundation
expresses its utmost gratitude to those whose
generous support helped make this evening
His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP
Mr. and Mrs. Saife Titi
Mr. and Mrs. Samih Darwazah
Mr. and Mrs. Munther Karaman
Dr. and Mrs. Basel Yanes
Mr. and Mrs. Issa Abboud
Americans for Middle East Understanding
The Palestinian Heritage Foundation
Letters to PHF…………
Hello Hanan and Farah
As for Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, I’ve always hoped that she would be the spokesperson for ALL the Arabs not only the Palestinian people. Her eloquence is unsurpassed and I’m so glad to have met her personally.
Your efforts are going to be felt generations from now.
Amal Al Rafei
Mary Thompson Jebara
I want to tell you what a beautiful source of inspiration your costumes pieces and articles are. I have a BS in Apparel Design and Development with a strong interest in historical fashion and costuming.
Your website has given me a beautiful look into Palestinian art, textiles, traditional garments, and customs. I plan to look for your video at libraries in Minneapolis. Thank you for all of your hard work and research; it is needed now more than ever.
Thank you and best of wishes,
Palestinian Costumes & Embroidery: A Precious Legacy
A Video Review By Shira
For the video review by Shira click the link below: